This could be an important week for Patriots rookie WR Tyquan Thornton
It’s the start of Week 4 in the, which is one of the busier transaction weeks of the regular season. This is the first time players placed on IR after initial roster cuts can be activated.
The Patriots only placed one player on IR in Week 1 – rookie wide receiver Tyquan Thornton. Thornton, who was drafted 50th overall by the Patriots back in the spring, broke is collarbone in the Patriots’ second preseason game, and hasn’t been on the field since.
If Thornton is ready, he could return to practice this week. Once he does, the Patriots would have up to three weeks to add him to the active roster (but can also do so before).
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Of course, that’s assuming Thornton is ready to play football again. When he had his surgery in late August, his timeline to return to play was reported as “6-8 weeks…but could vary depending on healing and re-acclimation to football.” Monday is exactly six weeks from Thornton’s surgery, so while it’s on the early end of that window it’s not unrealistic to think he could return – at least to practice – this week.
In an encouraging sign, Thornton appeared to be getting work in by himself this weekend. He shared a video to social media of himself wearing a helmet and gloves in his backyard with the caption ‘1% better!’
Looks like Tyquan Thornton, who’s eligible to come off IR next week, was doing some backyard training this afternoon.
Will be interesting to see whether the rookie wideout is ready to practice/play as he comes back from a broken collarbone. pic.twitter.com/bpwReDDWQE
When Thornton does return – whether it’s this week or later this season – it will be interesting to see how he fits into the Patriots’ offense. Wide receiver usage has already been a major talking point around the team this season. Will he step into a significant role? Or will the team ease him in?
The other variable here is the quarterback situation. Historically, the Patriots have been very conservative when it comes to rookie skill position players. Would there be any hesitation to play Thornton with a backup quarterback, or would they rather give him the extra time to rehab and get him back out on the field with Mac Jones?
This Wednesday will offer the first indication of where Thornton is at in his recovery. The Patriots generally don’t announce these things ahead of time, so it will be a matter of seeing whether or not he is on the field with the team for their first practice of the week.
As for the Patriots’ other players on IR, running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery still has one more week before he’s eligible to return. Yodny Cajuste, who was placed on IR over the weekend, could return as early as Week 8 against the Jets, which is the final game of October. Wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson, linebacker Ronnie Perkins, and cornerback Joejuan Williams were all placed on IR prior to the start of the regular season, and are ineligible to return this year.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.